A Pragmatical - if a trifle tongue in cheek - Guide
By Charlie Kondek
A topic that comes up from time to time, especially at the esteemed Kendo World forum, is, "How do I practice kendo at home?" Specifically, "How do I practice kendo outside?" I would like to offer a little helpful advice in that area, particularly as pertains to the situation of the back-yard kendo-ka - a situation we all find ourselves in all to frequently.
Shown below is everything you'll need for a spirited session of backyardgeiko.
First, of course, you'll need a reason to go outside. Very conveniently, I have one - a spirited and wonderful 3-year-old who loves to play with his top-of-the-line "water slide." Actually, I have two reasons, if you read a couple posts ago - the very spirited 3-year-old and his newborn brother, who is taking up quite a bit of spirited 3-year-old's parents' attention. First step in my ryu of backyard kendo is to take child out back for a little one-on-one and set up said apparatus.
Next, you'll want your handy dandy bokuto. As your child happily splashes in his top-of-the-line facility, you take said bokuto and do some stretching and suburi. Then you find a leaf.
A leaf? That's right. A leaf that's about men height. You'll also want to find leaves at kote and doh height. Then you practice your kihon. Shown here is the men cut.
And here is tsuki. Tsuki is perhaps easiest of all because you can actually push the leaf with no regard for injuring a person on the other side.
Do as many of these in as many orders as you like. Try different angles. Et cetera. You can do it barefoot though of course you won't have a wooden floor to help work on your footwork, but you can do them more in the style of the bokuto kihon, or whatever works. Expect frequent interuptions to "come play," "fill my bucket," "blow more bubbles," "get me another toy" (eventually the kiddie pool portion will be so filled with floating and/or sunken toys that you may wonder how the child fits in at all) and the like. And by now you will be sweating quite a bit so you may need several of these:
This is perhaps the most controversial part of my practice. No, not the having beer part, the brand of beer. Several kenshi will doubtless take exception to my use of lite beer in my practice. To which I say: hey, let's remember we're athletes here, and must adhere to proper nutritional standards.
Anyway, that's what I've been up to at home with the new baby. As you can see, my skill will not be diminished one bit if I keep this up. See you guys soon!